After significantly improved growth in 2017, global
manufacturing may be facing a downturn related to newly announced
trans-Atlantic trade barriers. According to estimates, global manufacturing
output rose by 4.2% in the first quarter of 2018, which was slightly lower than
4.7% of the last quarter of 2017.
The manufacturing output of industrialized economies rose
by the lower rate of 2.9% in the first quarter of 2018, compared to 3.5% in the
last quarter of 2017. The manufacturing output growth of China, which accounts for a quarter
of global manufacturing production, also fell marginally, to 6.3% in the first
quarter of 2018 from 6.8% in previous quarter.
to UNIDO's World Manufacturing Production Statistics for Quarter I, 2018 report,
the full impact of tariff uncertainties on the dynamics of global manufacturing
is yet to be seen as the first quarter figures indicate only a marginal
slowdown. Observed growth rates are still high but deceleration is visible in
all country groups, including the developing and emerging industrial economies
where manufacturing output increased by 4.8% in the first quarter of 2018
compared to 5.3% in the previous quarter.
The manufacturing of European industrialized economies,
which hit record high growth of 5.0% in the last quarter of 2017, rose by 4.1%
in the first quarter of 2018. Among the major economies, manufacturing output
rose by 4.2% in Germany and
4.6% in Italy.
However, the performance of France
was much weaker, at 2.0%.
A number of European Union (EU) economies achieved high manufacturing growth in the first quarter of 2018. Manufacturing output rose by 6.4% in Austria, 5.8% in Estonia and 9.3% in Slovenia.
non-EU economies, high growth was observed in Belarus:
9.9% and Serbia 6.0%, while
growth was marginal in Norway
and the Russian Federation.
manufacturing output of the United
States rose by 2.5% in the first quarter. In
East Asia, manufacturing output rose by 2.6% in Japan
and 5.2% in Malaysia.
However, manufacturing output dropped in the Republic of Korea.
emerging industrial economies, India
performed well, with 7.0% growth. Among other fast growing economies,
manufacturing output rose by 5.5% in Indonesia
Latin America is back on the
recovery path with 2.7% growth of manufacturing output in the first quarter.
Notable growth at 4.4% was observed in Brazil,
while 3.0% growth was observed in Argentina,
Chile and Uruguay.
based on limited data showed some slowdown in Africa,
where manufacturing output rose by 1.9% in the first quarter of 2018, lower
than 2.3% in the last quarter of 2017. Lower growth was observed in major
African economies, with manufacturing output rising by 1.1% in Egypt, 2.0% in Nigeria
and 1.5% in South Africa.
The UNIDO report also presents growth figures by manufacturing
industry. Output from the medium-high and high-tech industry rose by 5.0%,
higher than average growth, indicating the shift of global of manufacturing to
high-technology sectors. At the same time, high growth was also observed in
manufacturing of essential consumer goods, with a 4.8% growth in food